The House on Haunted Hill (1958) (1958)
Director: William Castle
Vincent Price/Frederick Loren
Carol Ohmart/Annabelle Loren
Carolyn Craig/Nora Manning
Elisha Cook Jr./Watson Pritchard
Five strangers are invited up to an old house for Annabelle’s (Ohmart) birthday bash. The house is supposedly haunted. Their host, Frederick Loren (Price) offers them $10,000 a piece if they stay and survive the night. At midnight they are locked in and the ghost fun begins. But is the haunting caused by ghosts or by one of the guests with their own agenda? Will they last the night?
Let's all remember that this film was made in the 50’s. I must say that it still sent a few shivers down my spine and yes, a few of the "boo" scares got me. Devoid of flashy effects and crazy prosthetics, this film relies on creaking doors, hands popping out, floating ghosts, walking skeleton and lighting tricks. It’s maybe crude compared to today's standards but it works (the new Haunting flick had all the effects in the world and couldn’t scare a 4 year old). Filled with mystery, a few nifty twists and some good ideas, this film is an interesting, easy watch. Boo!
1958…what do you think? We do get a head in a suitcase though…
All the actors are decent but these stand out: Vincent Price (Frederick) gives an outstanding performance and reminds us of why he’s such an icon in the horror field. He’s slimy, creepy but yet sympathetic. His screen presence is very strong. Carolyn Craig (Nora) knows how to scream, she nearly blew up the speakers on my TV! Elisha Cook Jr. (Watson) got on my bad side from the get go, his awkward face mixed with his constant whining are somewhat annoying. Carol Ohmart (Annabelle) is just plain sexy….grrrrrrrr.
T & A
Loads of it, all the girls prance around naked…NOT!
Since the movie is in black and white, I must say that I appreciated the shadow play and the lighting tricks. Castle moves the movie at a decent pace, is good at "boo" scares and delivers the haunted goods.
A gloomy score that’s also used to scare the audience. Every time something happens, it cranks up 5 notches.
The ending for me was a let down, too ambiguous for my taste but it’s very interesting to see where today’s movies got their inspirations. They didn’t have the technology we have today in the 50’s but they had imagination. All the effects in the world can’t surpass that. I enjoyed this film. It’s creative and fun. Open your mind and enter the House On Haunted Hill.
In this case the movie did more than inspire, it was remade in 1999.
Notice when the "Cadillac" funeral cars are driving up they’re all different models (different year). But when they’re parked…all the same model (same year).